Objective: To determine which procedures nephrologists do in practice, where they learned the procedures, and how much training they recommend to achieve and maintain clinical competence in each.
Design: Mailed survey.
Participants: A random sample of 700 members of the American College of Physicians who were identified as practicing nephrologists; 516 (74%) responded.
Results: Acute peritoneal dialysis, acute hemodialysis, continuous arteriovenous hemofiltration, and percutaneous renal biopsy were done by 95%, 97%, 87%, and 91% of the respondents, respectively. Except for hemofiltration, procedures were learned by most respondents during fellowship training. Compared with general internists, fewer nephrologists did most of the 19 general procedures included in the survey. The number of nephrology procedures done during the past year varied considerably among respondents, as did the minimum number of procedures they recommended for achieving and maintaining competence. Neither the variation in number of procedures done nor recommendations regarding certification were explained by differences in practice characteristics. Median recommendations remained relatively constant among subgroups.
Conclusions: Nearly all nephrologists do the four nephrology procedures included in the survey. Their opinions about the training needed for competence help to better define requirements for training programs. More attention should be focused on training and certifying practicing nephrologists in procedures learned after formal fellowship training.